On Your Way

 Posted by on March 17, 2012  Add comments
Mar 172012
 
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Ok imagine a nice Autumn Sunday tramp into the upper Lake Coleridge area, forecast aint the best but it is meant to improve as the day progresses. After a 2.5-hour drive we arrive at our start point & head off into the mountains, todays trip is up & onto the Rakaia Spurs, highest point 1964 metres, around 1300 metres of climb for the day, big day! After a hard slog onto the top ridge we stopped for some lunch, everyone was feeling ok, but it was raining a little, supposed to clear it said, bloody weather man. We setout along a narrow rough, you had to concentrate, ridge, vertical drops on both sides at time up to 200 metres. We came to a little tricky place, you had to climb down about 2 metres then get up onto a slab at about 30 degrees. Well the leader had gone first as all good leaders do & 3 others had followed, when the leader decided it was a good time for a Photo, so out came the camera & he turned around to get the shot & shit, he slipped, he fell face first onto the slab, then slide of falling about 3 metres down a bluff, tumbling, tumbling, tumbling down a shingle gulley, all we could do was stand & watch, what else can you do. He tumbled like a rag doll, eventually stopping about 50 metres below us. My mind went into overdrive, (Swear word) he is dead, or at the least broken many bones. Got to take control, lucky for him I have done a lot of mountain rescue, underground mines rescue training, so here we go. When he stopped we all watched, then he move (Swear Word) I yeld to him we are on our way don’t move. I got 2 people to go down first, one a nurse, the other an Electrician. We then got everyone else organized to get down & help. Activate the locator beacon. After an initial examination we had to move him to a safer place for the helicopter to pick him up, if the helicopter could get here. We sent two fast trampers down with a map & coordinates to help raise the alarm. We then settled in for a wait how long we had no idea, but we had to keep him awake & warm. We got him into a bivvy bag with a couple of space blankets to help keep the heat in & 3 of the female group sat around him to keep him from sliding off the hill & hopefully keep an eye on his condition. The rest of us made busy trying to get the site helicopter friendly, not an easy task. It took 2.5 hours for the Helicopter to arrive, fast, they spent about 10 minutes assessing the site then landed away from us & unloaded all the extra gear they had to make them lighter. They came back & winched a paramedic down who assessed the situation & winched the patient up. He is home now with a lot of bruising no broken bones, I don’t know how not, neither does anyone else, I don’t really want to see that again, has had a huge emotional impact on all that saw him fall.

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  6 Responses to “On Your Way”

  1. Gee Scotty Im lost for words. I guess it just wasnt his time.

  2. Amasing story Scott.

  3. Now I know why if do not do serious climbing and tramping! i used to think it was because it was so physically demanding.

  4. Quite a day Scott. Great that you recorded it. Often it feels wrong to make a photoraph of such a situation. But I’m sure the guy in question is thankful that you did.

  5. Yeah it was the last thing I was thinking about was taking images but I am glad I did, as the westpac guys have requested them for their training purposes, as they dont get to do this sort of stuff very often. They did say it pushed the machine to the max as well as the crews abilities, they said they LOVED it. We had a BBQ last night & I made a slideshow of my images so people could sit & watch, made a difference I think. Thanks for all your comments.

  6. I very sobering story and image, Scott. Well done.

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